What are the days of the week in French?

What are the days of the week in French?

by Anne-Lise Vassoille

Updated July 28, 2022

Along with knowing the French alphabet and being able to say your name, the days of the week are common vocabulary words that you’ll need to memorize when you start learning French. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to encounter and use them, be it when making a booking at a restaurant, arranging a meeting with friends or colleagues or simply checking your calendar. Beyond knowing the names for the seven weekdays, you’ll also need to become familiar with a few grammatical structures and phrases in order to actually be able to talk about the week in everyday French.

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A few important facts and words around French weekdays

Before we actually give you the names of the seven jours (days) in French, there are a few facts you need to know about them. First, they are all masculine words, though they don’t always need to be preceded by an article, as we will see later. Contrary to English, they also don’t take a capital letter. 

Another important difference is the fact that la semaine (the week) starts on Mondays, rather than Sundays. In everyday language, la semaine may sometimes refer to the working week, as opposed to le week-end. It’s also important to notice that la fin de la semaine means “the end of the week”, i.e. Thursday or Friday, rather than “the weekend”. On top of your Saturdays and Sundays, you also have the all-important jours fériés (bank holidays) to take a few breaks during the year.

What are the words for the 7 days of the week in French?

So here are the seven days of the week. You will notice that they all end in -di, apart from dimanche (Sunday). This suffix comes from the Latin word “dies”, which means “day”. The first part of the word usually comes from a Roman God: Mars in mardi (Tuesday), Mercury in mercredi (Wednesday), Juno in jeudi (Thursday), Venus in vendredi (Friday) and Saturn in samedi (Saturday). Lundi, the word for Monday in French, comes from lune (moon).

Days in EnglishDays in French
Mondaylundi
Tuesdaymardi
Wednesdaymercredi
Thursdayjeudi
Fridayvendredi
Saturdaysamedi
Sundaydimanche

You can also practice how to pronounce the days of the week with this video.

How do you abbreviate the French weekdays?

Basically, the simple trick is to take the first three letters of the word:

Days in FrenchAbbreviation
lundilun
mardimar
mercredimer
jeudijeu
vendrediven
samedisam
dimanchedim

On calendars, it’s also quite common to see just the first letter to represent each day, even for mardi and mercredi.

How to use the days of the week in sentences in French?

As we quickly mentioned, days of the week can be employed on their own, without any article. This corresponds to the use of “on+day of the week” in English:

J’arrive à Paris lundi.

>> I arrive in Paris on Monday.

Alternatively, you can also add ce (“this”) to refer to the upcoming day:

J’arrive à Paris ce lundi.

>> I arrive in Paris this Monday.

You can be a little more specific by adding an expression of time after the word of the day:

Expression of timeTranslationExample in FrenchTranslation
dernierlastlundi dernierlast Monday
prochainnextmardi prochainnext Tuesday
matinmorningmercredi matinWednesday morning
après-midiafternoonjeudi après-midiThursday afternoon
soireveningvendredi soirFriday evening

You can also use the days of the week to talk about routine or recurring activities, by using one of the following three structures. Please note the plural form used for the third one, with the extra -s at the end of the weekday:

Expression of timeTranslationExample in FrenchTranslation
lethe (used instead of “on”)le samedi on Saturdays
chaqueeachchaque dimancheeach Sunday
tous leseverytous les lundisevery Monday

Of course, days also appear alongside the months of the year to express dates, as follows: 

le + day + cardinal number + month

Example:

Quelle est la date aujourd’hui?

Nous sommes le mercredi 8 mars.

>> What is the date today?

We are Wednesday 8th March.

As you can see, dates in French differ from English as they use cardinal numbers rather than ordinal ones. The only exception is the first of each month, which uses the ordinal number premier (first). 

More generally, you can check which day it is by asking one of these questions:

FrenchEnglish
Quel jour sommes-nous ?
Nous sommes jeudi.
Which day are we?
We are Thursday.
Quel jour est-il aujourd’hui ?
C’est vendredi.
What day is it today?
It’s Friday.
Quel jour est-ce ?
C’est samedi.
What day is it?
It’s Saturday.

No time like today to learn the French days of the week

And there you have it: the seven days of the week in French and a few useful structures to actually be able to ask and give the date, talk about your daily routine or about a particular event on a specific day. These are just some of the many situations when knowing the days of the week will come in handy, even as a beginner.

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Anne-Lise is a translator and copywriter working for various industries, such as hospitality and travel, as well as health and well-being. Settled down in London since the end of her university years, she cannot get enough of the exceptional cultural life in the English capital city, starting with theater, be it to see a new West End show or to roll up her sleeves with her amateur drama group. She is also interested in photography, as her Instagram profile shows. She indulges her passion for languages in a translation blog she writes with other linguist friends. Go to her Linkedin page to know more about her background and her professional experience.

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